Hi Everyone. Well it seems summer is well and truly here! I hope I find you all having a sunny fun-filled June. So this week on my journey around Ireland I’ve decided to take you all on a tour of my favorite Irish parks. There’s nothing like a summer walk in the park while the trees are dressed in their finest green and the flowers are in full bloom.
Lulu’s Top Irish Parks
1. St. Stephens Green Dublin
First of all we’ll start in the capital. Dublin’s favorite park is an oasis of calm right in the center of the bustling city. It covers some 22 acres and was first enclosed by a wall in 1664. Railings replaced the walls in 1814 but access to the park was restricted to fee paying residents. Sir Arthur Guinness funded the current layout of the park. He was also responsible for pushing an act through parliament to open the park to the public in 1880. Because of this, he was honored with a statue in the park. It faces the College of Surgeons on the south side.
In addition to the Victorian central formal garden, there’s also a duck filled lake and impressive mature trees as well as numerous artworks including the imposing Wolfe Tone monument at the north east entrance.
2. Tollymore Forest Park, County Down
So next we’ll head up north to county Down. Tollymore forest park is an absolute woodland wonderland at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. It covers some 1600 acres. The river Shimna runs through the forest and can be crossed by no less than 16 bridges. The oldest one dates back nearly 300 years!
Go for a hike and be spoiled for choice for a perfect picnic spot. In recent times, Tollymore has become most noteworthy as a key location for the massive hit TV series Game of Thrones.
3. Lough Key Forest Park, Roscommon
Staying with the forest park theme, we’ll head across country now to Lough Key forest park in county Roscommon. This massive forest park covers some 1975 acres.It’s also just down the road from my beloved Sligo. You can stroll through it’s lush woodlands while you drink in the tranquillity of it’s waterways . Furthermore, you can zip your way over the canopy of the forest on their thrilling Zipit high-wire course!
4. Glendalough, Wicklow
While Glendalough is part of the vast Wicklow Mountains National Park I think it deserves to be singled out for a special mention. The name comes from the Gaelic “Gleann dá Loch” meaning ‘Valley of the Two Lakes”. St. Kevin founded the monastic settlement here in the 6th century. The remains of the churches and round tower date back to probably between the 10th and 12th centuries.
It’s easy to see why early medieval monks chose this stunning setting as a place of worship and reflection. Being near to my home in Dublin, it’s one of my favorite places for a relaxing stroll. There’s something truly tranquil and spiritual about this place.
5. Gleninchaquin Park, Kerry
Prepare to be enchanted because now it’s time to travel south to the awesome Kingdom of Kerry. Gleninchaquin Park covers 1000 acres on the Beara Peninsula. The views in every direction are nothing less than stunning. Log bridges dot the babbling streams and there’s tanquil lakes and lush woodlands. And you simply have to climb the carved steps up the mountain side to the top of the 140 meter high waterfall and enjoy breathtaking views over Kemare Bay.
6. Phoenix Park, Dublin
We’ll end our journey at the iconic Phoenix Park in Ireland’s capital city. Probably the most famous of all Irish parks. The park covers some 1750 acres with an 11 km perimeter wall . This makes it the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. Here you will find the residence of The President of Ireland (Áras an Uachtaráin ) while it is also home to Dublin’s Zoological Gardens.
The park began life as a royal hunting ground in the 1660s and was opened to the public in 1747. A large herd of fallow deer (pictured) thrive to this day. It has to be the best place in Dublin for an invigorating run or a gentle stroll.
Well I hope you enjoyed my whistle stop tour of Irish parks. I think a walk in the park is definitely in order! Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying some summer sunshine.
See you next week!
Slán go fóill!